From space opera to classical opera, that’s the trajectory of filmmaker James Gray over the next 12 months. His new sci-fi epic, Ad Astra, starring Brad Pitt as a man who travels through the solar system in search of his father, is currently slated to open May 24 — and, he hopes, could be preceded by a premiere at Cannes — and then he will step behind the scenes at Los Angeles Opera to direct a new version of the Mozart classic, The Marriage of Figaro, which will bow in June, 2020.
“My job, I think, honestly, is to do as little harm as possible to this magnificent creation, get my ego out of the way and not have it be me rethinking Mozart. To me, that’s folly,” Gray tells The Hollywood Reporter. “It’s my job to build on what is magical and great about Mozart and not screw it up.”
Gray has competed for Cannes’ Palme d’Or on four consecutive films dating to his sophomore effort, The Yards, through his 2013 film, The Immigrant. Will he get to the Cote d’Azur again this spring?
So, will Ad Astra bow at Cannes?
We’re trying, we’re certainly hopeful. The issue is a little bit out of our hands because the shots come in from the VFX houses and right now our delivery date is late April, early May, which is really, really cutting it close. You want your visual effects to be so good that nobody thinks about them, that people don’t think of them as visual effects. We have hopes, but the whole team, Plan B and Brad [Pitt] and, thankfully, New Regency, have been fantastic through this. We’re all just anxious to put out the very best movie, and whether we actually get to make Cannes on May 18 — or whatever the hell the day is — is of secondary concern to getting the film to look exactly right. And I’ve been wonderfully blessed with great support from them. That’s where the focus is now and we’re just sort of keeping our fingers crossed.